Whether it’s your household expenses or a big event, sticking to a budget can be tricky. It seems that no matter how well you plan, expenses crop up that you hadn’t anticipated. That’s true when you’re getting ready for your wedding as well. While checklists include things such as venues and renting equipment, other expenses could be attached to those items that might not be on the list. Make sure you add extra money in your budget for contingencies so you can save for your special nights on your honeymoon.
Take a good look at what your wedding venue offers in the way of services. Also, check the fine print to see if you must utilize certain vendors. Some places have a list of companies with whom they work—such as caterers, florists, bakeries, and photographers. If you choose to use someone, not on that list, they may require you to pay extra.
Thinking about a destination wedding? Find out what your destination venue charges for wedding guests who are not staying at the wedding location. Some resorts may add a day pass fee for each outside guest. Those fees can add up quickly…sometimes totaling $200 per head. Making last minute changes to the number of guests or the food you’re serving could also result in additional charges.
If you need to rent tables, chairs, tents, or other equipment, look over your contract carefully. There may be extra charges for delivery and pick-up that are not included in the original estimate. You can ask that these costs be covered up front. If your vendor charges for distance and labor in addition to the quote for the number of items rented, be aware that this can add up to several hundred dollars. The best way to avoid this is to make sure you have an itemized, line-by-line description of precisely what is included in the rental charges. That allows you to compare offers from competing companies so you can avoid any surprises.
Having a rental tent as a back-up in case it rains on your outdoor wedding is an obvious expense, but the tent isn’t the only thing to consider. You’ll definitely want umbrellas on hand for the wedding party and guests, but that’s not all. Rain ahead of time could make for soggy ground. Many experts recommend that you also plan for flooring inside your tent, so tables, chairs, and high heels don’t end up sinking into soft ground.
Weather can offer additional challenges as well. Depending on the season, you might need to plan for portable heaters or air-conditioners. Experts recommend two per tent to keep guests comfortable. So while you might be able to rent a venue more cheaply because it’s in the off-season, just keep in mind that weather that doesn’t cooperate could negate the savings. If your wedding is at night, what backup plans do you have for lighting should the power go out? Discuss those possibilities up front and budget for an emergency fund to handle them.
The wedding went wonderfully. The reception is the party to end all parties and is still swinging after your agreed end time. So it doesn’t finish on a downbeat, make sure you know ahead of time what overtime charges you might incur. This doesn’t just apply to your venue. Remember your photographer and videographer who’ve been documenting your big day or the DJ or Band who have been supplying the entertainment. Ask up front when you contract with them how they handle staying longer than anticipated.
If you’ve rented equipment, know how charges may escalate if crews have to wait on all your guests to go home before they can begin clean-up. The last thing you want is for your band or DJ to start breaking down equipment before the party is over because you haven’t covered your bases and figured in ahead of time how to handle any overtime costs.
Create an “other” category when planning out your initial budget. This is a go-to if some additional costs come up that you haven’t budgeted for in other areas including last minute hiccups with flower deliveries or the sudden realization you forgot to invite your beloved’s Great Aunt Sally and need to add her and her husband to the guest list at the last moment. How much you put into this fund depends on how thorough you believe your planning has been, but we recommend 10-20% of your budget be set aside for this.